Northern Ireland's DUP says British backstop plan a step forward

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier

The BPA is urging the government to speed up progress with the planned customs white paper to clarify the future relationship with the EU.

Varadkar received a "cast iron guarantee" in December that there wouldn't be a border separating Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The Cabinet Office's Northern Ireland border document states: "The UK is clear that the temporary customs arrangement, should it be needed, should be time limited, and that it will be only in place until the future customs arrangement can be introduced".

The commitment to a backstop was agreed in the Joint EU-UK Report of December past year.

But the government is struggling to find a way to fulfil this commitment while sticking to its plan to leave the EU's single market and customs union after Brexit.

Nevertheless, Barnier said he was not rejecting the proposal outright. She also pledged to "explore workable solutions on the Ireland question". "The temporary backstop is not in line with what we want or what Ireland and Northern Ireland want and need". The UK wants a further discussion with the EU on how a specific mechanism for Northern Ireland suggested in the European Commission's draft protocol could apply to the UK as a whole.

Whitehall has proposed two customs solutions: a partnership under which Britain would collect import duties on the EU's behalf, and a proposal known as "max fac" (maximum facilitation) that would rely on new technology to conduct rapid border checks without a physical presence at the historically fraught frontier.

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The UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan are expected to mount a concerted effort to persuade Donald Trump to rethink punitive tariffs imposed on steel and aluminium exports to the U.S., with Mrs May saying she had made her views clear to Mr Trump and calling the tariffs "unjustified".

The survey showed that 29% of people from a Protestant background defined themselves as Irish, compared to only 4% of people from a Catholic background who identified as British.

'It would, I suppose, just be possible to ask the people in a referendum if they liked the exit deal or not, ' he said.

Liam Fox and David Davis leave Downing Street after a crunch cabinet meeting on Brexit on June 7.

Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union overall by 55%.

He added: "The UK recognises that the proposals in its paper can't qualify as a backstop, since the issue of full regulatory alignment is not addressed". Not being in a customs union would be disruptive, but the level of disruption being outside the single market would be orders of magnitude higher. One such key aspect is free movement of people - a major factor in the flexible workforce available to United Kingdom businesses, which as of previous year built half of Europe's offshore wind power. Leading up to the publication of the UK document, there had been speculation that the UK Brexit negotiator, David Davis, was ready to quit unless the UK backstop proposal was truly time limited.

The backstop plan is due to be presented to European Union negotiators in Brussels by the end of the week.

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